Douala : Red Cross Volunteers Serve People, Save Lives

Some 200 of them have been deployed in the city to help combat the Coronavirus pandemic.

All across Cameroon, thousands of people have set aside time to help in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic or COVID-19. In Wouri Division of Littoral Region, the Cameroon Red Cross Wouri Divisional branch, with the financial and material support of the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has deployed 200 volunteers to help to combat COVID-19 
Amongst them is Manga Ngock Andre, 53, a Red Cross First Aid volunteer and President of the Mambanda, Bonaberi-Douala Red Cross Club.  He is one of those posted to the Saint Albert LeGrand Catholic Hospital, Bonaberi, Douala. Always on “red alert” beside the hand-washing point donated by UNICEF, and sporting his Red Cross overall, Ngock reaches out to both visitors to the hospital and passers-by. 
“I tell them that hand hygiene saves lives. We need not wait for government to tell us to regularly wash our hands under running water with soap before doing so,” says Ngock. “When it concerns humanity, I am ready to devote all of my time in order to save lives. The secret is in being courteous to people. The Matron, medical doctors, and all other workers always stop by or come out of their vehicles to wash their hands before entering the hospital,” explains the volunteer. 
Dika Laetitia is leader of the team of Red Cross volunteers managing a hand-washing site at Rond Point Deido, Douala at the entrance to Saint Luke Clinic. “Commercial motorbike riders are so interested in the initiative that they help us in fetching water to refill the keg; and also encourage their colleagues to regularly wash their hands,” says Laetitia. “We no longer need to sensitise bike riders. They come in their numbers and on their own to wash hands,” she adds.
Ekembom Anselle Alvine is one of the Red Cross volunteers serving at the entrance to the Bonasama District Hospital, Bonaberi, Douala. The site serves passers-by, patients coming to the hospital and family members who come for coffining at the hospital morgue. “People are interested in washing hands, but some keep asking for hand sanitisers, gloves and face masks,” she says.  
According to Ekoume Marguerite Flore, an official of the Wouri Divisional Red Cross branch and National Instructor for Emergencies with the Cameroon Red Cross, public hand-washing demonstrations by volunteers have another purpose. “It is our objective that those who are sensitised will return home and carry on with the practice - even after the Coronavirus pandemic ends,” Ekoume says with an air of optimism.



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